From pregnancy week 28 onwards, you may experience harmless contractions called Braxton-Hicks contractions, says KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH).
At pregnancy week 28, you and your baby would have completed over two thirds of this magnificent pregnancy journey.
How is baby developing at pregnancy week 28?
- This week, your baby weighs an average of 1kg and is about 37cm in length
- Your baby's lungs are now mature enough to breathe air and it will have a good chance of survival if born now
- Your baby’s eyes are also completely formed and he/she can blink!
- Your baby may also have hiccups which you may feel as little jerks in your womb.
From this week onwards, you may experience harmless contractions which are called Braxton-Hicks contractions. It is important to distinguish between these and the signs of early labour. Harmless contractions usually come at irregular timings and classically feel like painless tightenings. These do not cause the ripening of the cervix or early delivery of the baby.
Labour contractions: What to expect
In contrast, actual labour contractions can be of a stronger intensity and more painful. Other symptoms to expect would be your water bag breaking or pink vaginal discharge.
Early labour symptoms
About 1 in 10 women go into early labour. If this happens to you before pregnancy week 37, your doctor will say that you are going into pre-term labour. This can result in the delivery of a premature baby. Sometimes, early labour symptoms may not be as obvious, they can feel like mild menstrual cramping or a backache.
What happens if you are in early labour?
If you are found to be in early labour, your doctor will try and help prolong the pregnancy and stop labour by giving you certain medications. Some of which will require a short hospital stay as you and your baby will need to be monitored. Also, steroid injections may be administered to accelerate the maturity of your baby's lungs to prepare for the possibility of delivery.
Why prolong your pregnancy? Premature vs full term babies
The rationale behind trying to prolong your pregnancy and prevent early delivery is to reduce the risks of prematurity. Compared to full term babies, premature infants are more vulnerable to respiratory and gut problems, as well as other complications. Therefore to protect your child, we try to prolong the pregnancy to as near 37 weeks as possible.
Taking photos of the precious moments of your baby's developments before and after birth may help you bond better with the child. Also, they serve as lovely memories your child will appreciate when he/she is older.